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Life most important issue in election

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, November 2, 2008

The current race for the president, which concludes this Tuesday Nov. 4, has gone on for more than a year, with much ink spilled on the views of the candidates. The positions of the candidates on the economy, on taxes, on foreign policy and on a host of other topics has captivated the attention of the American public. As a great and Catholic University, Notre Dame should be most interested in the most important and overarching consideration: the topic of life. It seems self-evident that without life, nothing else matters. Our country was founded on the principle that all men and women are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without life, there is no liberty, and there is no pursuit of happiness.Many politicians speak of life issues in the context of a “seamless garment” and involving many important issues, including abortion, euthanasia, our approach as a nation to war, the death penalty and several other important issues. A number of thoughtful recent letter-writers to this newspaper have also appropriately focused attention on issues which affect the quality of life, including health care, education and immigration. Again, these are important issues. But as a University committed to a “life of the mind,” let us be clear about which of these issues dominates the others. More unborn children are destroyed in the wombs of their mothers each year in the United States than the total of all men and women killed each year in wars, than all men and women euthanized each year and than all men and women executed each year in the United States combined … by a very substantial amount.A number of prominent politicians who profess to be devout, practicing Catholics have spoken out in defense of our nation’s abortion laws, claiming that the Church has “struggled” with this issue over the years. This is misinformation of the worst kind, because it deals with such a critically important issue and about such innocent and vulnerable persons. The Catholic Church has always and everywhere spoken with a clear and unambiguous voice about how grave an evil abortion is. For those of you who wish to properly inform and form your conscience about this issue, I urge you – indeed I exhort you – to do so.One particularly powerful recent statement is that of Edward Cardinal Egan, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York. In a beautiful witness to his teaching office as both a Bishop and a prince of the Church, Cardinal Egan posts a weekly column to the archdiocesan website in New York entitled “In the Holiness of Truth.” In his most recent posting, Cardinal Egan describes in very clear terms that all can understand both the importance and clarity of the Church’s teaching on when life begins entitled “Just Look.” See http://www.cny.org/archive/eg/eg102308.htmAnother very recent teaching of an American Bishop is that of Bishop William Francis Malooly, the Bishop of Wilmington, Delaware, who six days ago published a Letter to the Editor in the “Delaware Online” which he entitled “Catholic Church has made no exception regarding abortion since ancient times.” See http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20081026/OPINION10/81025022/1004/OPINIONIndeed, more than 50 of the nation’s Catholic bishops have issued formal statements and pronouncements or given interviews in which they have declared that the most important issue for voters in their choice of a new president is the candidate’s stance on abortion. See http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/oct/08102412.htmlYou cannot find a statement by any bishop in which they claim that abortion is an issue of conscience or open for debate or that there is a more important issue in the upcoming election. This of course does not mean that other issues are not important. They are. But none is more important than the beginning of life. Please form your conscience well in preparation for the election this Tuesday.

Peter KilpatrickProfessor, Dean’s OfficeCollege of EngineeringNov. 2